Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Guest Blogger - Diane Kelly

I met Diane when I attended a great workshop she presented about writers and taxes. Then the next year I watched her win the Golden Heart Award for the book that's coming out NOW! She's blogged with us before about selling a single title without an agent, and her tax articles have appeared on the Playground website. So please make room round the fire pit so Diane can squeeze in, warm up and tell us her news.

My Debut!

Thanks to Marilyn Puett for inviting me to guest blog today!

My debut novel, Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure, has just been released. It’s such an exciting time!

When I first began writing seriously over a decade ago, one of the first pieces of advice I heard was to “write what you know.” But as a CPA/tax attorney, what I knew were the rules for itemizing deductions, who qualifies as a dependent, and a half dozen methods for computing depreciation. Not exactly fodder for an interesting novel, huh?

But I knew some other things, too. I knew about criminals. Not your standard burglar or purse-snatching thug, but savvy and sophisticated criminals who knew how to pull off a financial crime.

One of my first jobs after law school was working as an assistant attorney general at the State of Texas Attorney General’s office. Many of the cases I worked on involved white-collar crimes. Ironically, it later came to light that the state AG was falsifying documents in order to fraudulently divert tobacco company settlement funds to his cronies’ law firms. He later pled guilty to criminal charges and spent some time in the slammer. Sheesh!

My innocence tarnished, I took a job with a large accounting firm, proud that such a prestigious outfit would hire little ol’ me. After my experience at the AG’s office, I was glad to now be among nerds who were surely too straight-laced to engage in criminal activity. Then, lo and behold, one of the partners was indicted for tax shelter fraud.

Was there no one I could trust?

Worried I’d find myself in jail as an unwitting accomplice to my next employer’s criminal deeds, I decided self-employment would be a good idea. I also realized my experiences with white-collar crime made excellent fodder for mystery novels. My fingers hit the keyboard and thus began my “Death and Taxes” series, which stars a female criminal investigator for the IRS.

Ever worked with a criminal? Maybe been the victim of a financial crime?

We’d love to hear about it! Post a comment to be entered in a drawing to win an autographed copy of Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure, book #1 in the Death and Taxes series. The winner will be announced at 9:00 pm central time.

For more information about my series, please visit me at

Thanks for stopping by the Writing Playground!

P.S. Catslady is Addison Fox's winner from Monday. Please email Angel at to arrange for your prize.


Pamela Mason said...

Ever worked for or with a criminal?

Oh yeah... twice, like you.

Had to put a garnishment on one to get paid, the other one I just wiggled out of employment with her.

And so has myHero... one of his former bosses just completed his sentence & is employed with his old buddies now.

We try to stay squeaky clean, plain vanilla, old fashioned - we still even use paper checks!

Can't wait to read your new release Diane! Congratulations on your debut!

traveler said...

Congratulations and best wishes. Your post which mentioned your experience with fraud was interesting and thought provoking. These individuals sure had chutzpah.

Instigator said...

Welcome to the Playground, Diane!

I'm right there with you. I have a paralegal degree and worked with a criminal defense attorney. Luckily the rapists and murderers were normally behind bars so I rarely had to sit in the office with them staring at me across my desk. I think the strangest thing that happened was accepting payment for services in the form of moonshine...and then getting a lesson on how to tell if it was good or not. Yeah, I live in the south.


Instigator said...

Oh, and I almost forgot when my boss - in the merchant services department of a bank - was investigated by the FBI and fled the country to an island (in the Carribbean I think). He stole millions before they caught him.
The idiot finally returned to the country and they caught him. Last I heard he was in federal prison serving like 40 or 50 years.


Playground Monitor said...

I work for a family law firm, and the way some people treat their families should be a crime.

My mother had a friend many years ago who embezzled oodles from the company she worked for. The company did not press charges but let her go. She proceeded to get a job at a company in the same line of business and repeat the crime. I don't believe business #2 pressed charges either, but word got around about her and no one was going to give her access to money after that.

Congrats on the debut novel!

Stephanie Jones said...

I am so excited to see you here at the Playground and read more about your experiences and your book.

I was reading RT this weekend and saw your book and cirled it to look for in the bookstore this weekend! Now I am even more excited to read it.

petite said...

Your former profession has made your writing authentic and fascinating.

Diane Kelly said...

Wow, Pamela and Instigator, your luck sounds like mine as far as employers go! : )

And payment in moonshine? How funny!

You're right, Traveler. Financial crimes can be very intriguing. They aren't easy to pull off and they usually involve people who appear to be clean cut business types.

I'm so glad to hear the book caught your eye, Stephanie! I give a lot of credit to my awesome cover artist and illustrator team. They did a fantastic job!

Thank you, too, Petite! I think white-collar crime is fascinating, too. And with all the advances in technology it seems to be creating more opportunities for these criminals online. Seems there's a new scam every day!

Caroline said...

Wow - great post Diane (btw my SIL is called Diane Kelly - how cool is that!) And massive congrats on your debut as well.

My DH was a former police detective and he tells me great stories about crimes he's investigated over the years. He *always* says the most cleverest of criminals were the white collar ones. I couldn't be a criminal - "if you can't do the time don't do the crime" would apply to me! Caroline x

Diane Kelly said...

Hi, Caroline,

What a coincidence about the name! There seem to be a lot of Diane Kelly's out there. A lot of them seem to be realtors. I get misdirected emails sometimes and I try to hunt them down to get them to the right place.

I bet being married to a detective was interesting! But I bet it was hard to get away with anything, huh? : ) Thanks so much for stopping by!

catslady said...

I have no interesting stories which may be a good thing lol. But it's a very interesting topic and I read about it in the news all the time. Congratulations on your debut - I love firsts :)

Diane Kelly said...

Thanks, catslady! It is fun to have a new " first.". There's so few of them at my age. : )

Diane Kelly said...

I used to pick a winner and it chose #7. The 7th poster was Catslady! Please contact me at to claim your prize.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by today! And thanks again to Marilyn for inviting me to guest blog!

catslady said...

Oh, thank you so much. Sending my info now :)